Free food, clothing and toiletries are being offered to the unemployed and homeless at the new Food Hub in Tottenham.

Based at 639 High Road it is open every Tuesday from 11am to 3pm. It is also a place for people who just want to pop in for a hot drink and a chat with volunteers and members of the Gospel Temple Apostolic Church which is running the hub.

“Most of the people who pass through here are unemployed and some are rough sleepers,” said Jason Young, the church’s associate pastor. “The Northumberland Park ward has one of the highest unemployment rates in London so it’s no accident we happen to be here – specifically across the road from the Jobcentre.”

Jason explained some Jobcentre clients might have had their benefits sanctioned and have no money to buy food, so the hub was a ‘first stop shop’ for them to avoid the prospect of starvation.

“I know there are food banks out there but people need to be referred,” he said, “But with us you don’t need a referral and we also don’t have a maximum amount of times people can come here. There is no criteria but we do ask for our clients to fill out a survey form so we can assess their needs. The majority of people are in need but occasionally someone might look at the form and say, ‘I don’t actually fit this’ so it’s not for them.”

All the food is sourced from local supermarkets and is healthy with an emphasis on fruit and vegetables. The food is also well within the expiry date so it can last for a few days.

“It’s very rewarding to see the smile on people’s faces when they leave and when they say, ‘I can feed my family tonight,’” said one of the volunteers, Claudette Young. “We hope to make a difference to people’s lives and we’re here for anyone.”

The church recently received a £4,000 grant from the National Lottery which they hope will fund the hub for at least a year.

“We come here every Tuesday and we like the people who are really welcoming,” said Shardia, attending the hub’s launch with her three-year-old son, Damari. “I have a hot chocolate and a chat and I always leave with a bag of stuff. It’s helped a lot and it means I can pay my bills. There really should be more places like this.”

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